Movings/Shakings: 6 May

Tropical move

James Bickford has tendered his resignation from Interbrand, bringing an end to his six-year stint as the managing director of the company.

Joining in 2008, Bickford has been with Interbrand since it was first launched in New Zealand and he has seen it evolve into an integral part of DDB NZ’s offering.

In his time at Interbrand, he became a board member at DDB and worked as Interbrand’s head of strategy with various major brands, including New Zealand Lotteries, New Zealand Way (Country Brand Development), Frucor International, Fonterra, Z Energy, ANZ, The National Bank, Telecom NZ and Gen-i.

His resignation from Interbrand also means that he will no longer be serving on the DDB board.

Karen Jones has been promoted to general manager and is supported by senior strategist Tom Warden and design director Simon Byers. And according to Interbrand chairman Martin O’Halloran, a replacement managing director is currently being sought. 

Prior to moving to New Zealand, Bickford worked as a managing partner at Mercari London from 2004 to 2007 and as the managing director of Blue Juice from 1998 to 2004.   

Over the course of his career, Bickford has held various senior roles that have seen him garner consulting experience in Russia, the Middle East, Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific.

And this international experience will set him in good stead, given that his new role will be in Singapore. At this stage it still unclear what his new position will be or which company he will be working for, but further details will be released on Saturday when his departure from Interbrand has been finalised.

“Since joining as head of strategy in 2008, James has made a real impact on Interbrand, building a strong profile and portfolio for the agency. The New Zealand agency works closely with its Australian counterpart and will continue to do so to deliver excellent brand strategy and innovative design. We wish James well in his new adventure,” says O’Halloran.  

Lord of the programmes 

TVNZ’s John Kelly has moved into the newly created role of general manager of programming.

“As the market evolves, it’s critical we maximise the value of our investment in content across all our on-air and online platforms, while continuing to grow the combined audience and commercial performance of TV ONE and TV2. With this in mind, we’ve decided to recreate the role of general manager of programming. This is a key senior role in our content team and I’m very pleased to have John Kelly in this role,” says the TVNZ head of television Jeff Latch.

TVNZ’s comms manager Georgie Hills says that Kelly has been instrumental in TV2’s success in recent years and that this move will now see him working across TVNZ’s channels.

“John has been with us for 19 years. He first worked for TVNZ in 1995 as an editor based in Wellington, and a couple of years later transferred to work in news in Auckland. He had a ten-year stint in promos before moving into our programming team in August 2006. He was promoted later that same year to TV2 programmer,” says Hills.

Kelly’s previous position as the head of TV2 programming has not yet been filled, which means that he will continue to juggle both roles until TVNZ finds a replacement. 

Hills says that the broadcaster is currently on the hunt for someone to take on the position.  

Swapping textbooks for business mags

Following the recent departure of Hazel Phillips, Tangible Media has appointed Nikki Mandow as the acting editor of of Idealog magazine.

She joins the publication on a six-month contract off the back of having completed her Masters in journalistic education at AUT, and this move renews her long-running business relationship with Tangible publisher Vincent Heeringa  

“Nikki was formerly news editor at The Independent Business Weekly (she was my boss), then editor of Unlimited (I was her boss) and then a journalism tutor at AUT,” says Heeringa.

Mandow quipped that it was “galling” to think that Heeringa was once again going to be her boss and said she was looking forward to the challenges her new role would pose. 

“I’ve worked with Vince on and off for many years, and it’s great to once again be in an environment where I’m surrounded by a daily stream of fresh ideas,” says Mandow.  

The storytellers 

On 28 March, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce announced the appointment of Cameron Harland as New Zealand Story Group Advisory Board Chair.

The Advisory Board is made up of four private sector members and the Chief Executives of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Tourism New Zealand, Education New Zealand, Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Ministry for Primary Industries. Harland will lead the Board, which will be responsible for promoting and protecting the ‘New Zealand Story’.

“Cameron brings extensive advertising and international brand management capability to the Advisory Board. He also offers a strong background and understanding of the information communications and high tech sectors, strategic leadership and export experience in many of New Zealand’s key markets,” Joyce said in a release.

Harland is the general manager of Park Road Post Production. He has previously held roles running Saatchi & Saatchi Wellington and Lowe Auckland. He has been involved in advertising and sports management through a range of agencies and professional groups. At Park Road Post, he oversees the running of the facility, driving strategic growth both domestically and internationally and ensuring filmmakers’ demands are delivered. 

Harland was educated at Victoria University of Wellington where he graduated with an LLB and BA. He is currently a member of the New Zealand Film Commission, the Wellington Phoenix Football Club Board and the Weta Workshop Advisory Board. Previous Board memberships include Downstage Theatre Trust Board and the Advertising Standards Complaints Board.

In March, it was also announced that the former Fonterra general manager of NZMP brand and communications Rebecca Smith was appointed the director of New Zealand Story, a position in which she will be responsible for increasing the reach of the government initiative, particularly among business people. 

Given that Smith has held a varied range of senior management positions at some of New Zealand’s bigger companies, she seems well suited to the role. 

Prior to working at Fonterra, she worked at BNZ, first as the national manager of marketing strategies and then as the head of marketing and communications. She also spent two and a half years as the head of business communications at Telecom, a role that followed a string of other positions at the telco over a six-year period.  

Smith says this is a newly created role, which follows on from the launch of the New Zealand Story last November.

She will report to Harland, who will in turn report to Minister Joyce. 


Video and Entertainment Network Asia (Vena), which specialises pre-roll video, mobile video and video seeding services, has recently consolidated its New Zealand team by appointing Tim Richardson as an Account Manager.

Richardson was born and raised in New Zealand but completed university in New York City where he attended Fordham University on a Football scholarship. Since his return to New Zealand 18 months ago, he has been working at OMD in Auckland as digital campaign manager.

“We’re really excited to have Tim on board, and with his background, he hits the ground running with a great understanding of the digital landscape, processes and technology,”  says Vena NZ general manager Toni Knowles.

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